“Hello everybody. My name is Dominique Mixon, and I work here at Open Roads Bike Program. I am currently working in the bike shop as a mechanic and shop assistant. I started in summer 2015 as the first Open Roads Apprentice. Before we get into that, I would like to tell you more about how I got here. See, Open Roads is more than just a bike shop and I experienced that first hand. Just over a year ago I was detained for some poor decisions I made. One of the probation officers at the Juvenile Home talked to my officer and asked if he knew of any kids who needed a job because Open Roads was looking to hire their first Apprentice. I needed one because I was so close to being released. I filled out an application and Erin and Christine came to the Juvenile Home to interview me. They must have liked what I said, because they hired me the next day.
I can’t lie, I was pretty nervous my first day in the bike shop because I thought they would all view me as a criminal and watch me closely to make sure I wouldn’t steal anything, but it was the opposite. They helped me, trusted me, and taught me so much. I learned to repair and sell bikes, take customers on tours, and help out with the kids at programs. I believe Open Roads helped save my life and definitely my freedom. It gave me something to do that I enjoyed and kept me occupied and away from negative influences and today I am happy to say I am off probation. I have two great jobs and will be going back to school in the fall at KVCC.
Open Roads did exactly what the name implied to me, it opened roads in my life for positive change. I know from personal experience that Open Roads improves lives of troubled youth but our programs also help youth and families who are just having tough times financially. Not all kids in our programs have bikes when they start- and lots of kids bring us bikes that are in really rough shape. We have the fun job of helping them make it rideable and safe again. When I was younger and living in the Edison neighborhood, my bike was never in the best shape. I remember my friends one day telling me that I could take it to this garage down the street and they would help me fix it. I was confused about why anyone would be doing that and especially for free but I went anyways and got my bike fixed. I connected the dots just a few months ago that the little garage I took it to was Open Roads when they were first starting up and the people that helped me fix my bike were some of the people that are here today. Open Roads is a safe haven which welcomes and accepts everybody and for me, Open Roads is home. I hope that we will keep expanding and reaching more kids and I want to thank everyone for coming out today because by being here you are impacting how many more kids we can help this year.” - May 21, 2016